March 27 Pennsylvania COVID-19 Update

PA-ACP is providing regular updates for members and the public on its website.  For other information and updates, follow PA-ACP on Twitter (@PAChapterACP) and on Facebook (@pachapteracp).
 
Pennsylvania COVID-19 Daily Update
State Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine said Friday that the Department of Health had confirmed 531 more cases of #COVID2019 on Thursday. The statewide total of positive tests/cases is 2,218 (all in isolation at home or being treated in a hospital) in 50 (of Pa.’s 67) counties.  Thursday saw seven new deaths, bringing the statewide total to 22.

There are 21,016 patients who have been tested negative to date.

Of the patients who have tested positive, the age breakdown of PA #coronavirus cases is as follows:  Less than 1% are aged 0-4; Less than 1% are aged 5-12; Nearly 2% are aged 13-18; 11% are aged 19-24;40% are aged 25-49; Nearly 28% are aged 50-64;  18% are aged 65 or older.

Most of the patients hospitalized are aged 25-49, and most of the deaths have occurred in patients 65 or older. There have been no pediatric deaths to date. 

Wolf, Levine Expand Stay at Home Order to Nine New Counties to Mitigate COVID-19
Governor Wolf and Secretary Levine revised their “Stay at Home” orders to include nine additional counties –  Berks, Butler, Lackawanna, Lancaster, Luzerne, Pike, Wayne, Westmoreland and York – bringing the state total to 19 counties under a stay-at-home order. This order takes effect at 8:00 PM Friday, March 27, 2020, and will continue until April 6, 2020.

The order now includes these 19 counties: Allegheny, Berks, Bucks, Butler, Chester, Delaware, Erie, Lackawanna, Lancaster, Lehigh, Luzerne, Monroe, Montgomery, Northampton, Philadelphia, Pike, Wayne, Westmoreland and York counties.

Read Governor Wolf’s original order here or view on Scribd. Read Governor Wolf’s amended order here or view on Scribd.

Read Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine’s original order here or view on Scribd. Read Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine’s amended order here or view on Scribd.

For the most up-to-date information on COVID-19, Pennsylvanians should visit: https://www.pa.gov/guides/responding-to-covid-19/.
 
Emergency Health Care Funds bill signed
Governor Tom Wolf signed four bills today to fight the COVID-19 pandemic in Pennsylvania that bolster the health care system, benefit workers and schools, and reschedule the 2020 primary election for June 2.

The governor signed House Bill 1232, which provides $50 million for the Wolf administration to purchase medical equipment and supplies for hospitals, nursing facilities and emergency medical services to meet the urgent needs by patients and staff.

In addition, the governor signed legislation to expand the state’s Unemployment Compensation programs, to move
the state’s primary election to June 2, and to provide guidance for the state’s school districts, which have been closed for two weeks, through April 6.

Life Sustaining Industries List Changes
The Department of Community and Economic Development said it had received a staggering 24,877 waiver requests. Of those, 4,003 had been approved and 4,439 had been denied. At a news conference that day, Wolf said he was not personally signing off on any of the waiver decisions.

The Commonwealth updated its list of life sustaining businesses on March 26 at 5:30 pm.  That list is available online here.
 
Small business loans available
To help practices impacted by COVID-19 regulations and efforts, two loan programs have been made available so far that may be of interest: 

  • The COVID-19 Working Capital Access Program provides loans of up to $100,000 for working capital with a 0% interest rate. Funds are limited and will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis to qualified businesses employing 100 or fewer full-time employees. The program is being administered through the Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority (PIDA). All PIDA loan applications must be submitted through a Certified Economic Development Organization (CEDO). For more information, click here. 
  • The U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Economic Injury Disaster Loans offer up to $2 million in assistance and can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing. These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact. The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses without credit available elsewhere; businesses with credit available elsewhere are not eligible. The interest rate for nonprofits is 2.75%. Businesses may obtain information and loan applications by calling the SBA’s Customer Service Center at 1-800-659-2955(1-800-877-8339 for the hearing impaired), or by emailing disastercustomerservice@sba.gov. Loan applications can also be downloaded at https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/disaster-assistance. 

 
Cares act provisions
Among the other provisions of the $2 trillion CARES Act passed by the US Senate on Wednesday and the US House of Representatives on Friday afternoon, one would allow Medicare to pay for virtual visits during the emergency period even if the doctor hadn’t billed the patient before, and another would let patients with HSAs and high deductible plans use telehealth before they’d met the deductible. The package would also expand Medicare payments for federally qualified health centers and rural health clinics using telehealth.